11 Sep

‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’

There comes a time in our lives where we have to recognize the end of a chapter. We have to put some great part of our lives to bed and make those decisions that are essential for change. You have to give up on those loose ends that will always hang frayed in some place that you have bedded down for any period of time. There will still be those maybes hanging around in that old world, but those maybes are the material of your stagnation, those maybes are what keep you where you are. You have to let them go.

letting-go

So I’m letting go off all my maybe’s, all of my mysteries, all the little things that I wonder about when I’m left alone. I haven’t got a lot of money left, but what I’ve got I’m scrapping together to get a one way flight far away from here. I’ve spent bloody ages finding all sorts of ways to save the pennies on these trips. Through skyscanner I found some amazingly cheap flights going out of Liverpool, then found a whole load of ways of saving in the costs of things. Now I’ve finally done it. I’m out.

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All of the things that I thought I needed, that I thought needed me, that I thought my life was made of. They were only ways of stopping me reaching into myself and actually trying to find out who I am. Because I am not just some appendage to others. I am not defined only by my role propping up the lives of others. I am a meaningful and existing woman who should be able to walk as a person on their own and walk tall and be strong. I deserve that and I can do it! I’m going to be my self for the first time.

So this is it, this is my goodbye. I’ve changed a lot since I started writing here about our shop and my life. My whole world is different now, completely different to the world I used to live in. I’m so much better for those changes, and I’m grateful for you being there for me. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through this whole thing it’s that one of the hardest parts of life is balancing your own wants and the fact that you want to be part of other peoples lives. You can’t just sacrifice yourself to others, they do not deserve to control you, you have to be your own person. But you have to be willing, and able, to share your life. Willing to look toward the unknown, and crave it, and search for it.

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I’m ready to share and I’m willing to crave. So I look with Gatsby’s eyes, to the future.

 

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

12 Aug

Staring Into Darkness

‘When you were here before,
Couldn’t look you in the eye,
You’re just like an angel,
Your skin makes me cry,
You float like a feather,
In a beautiful world,
And I wish I was special,
You’re so fucking special.

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She’s running out again,
She’s running out…

She runs, runs, runs

runs.’

I spent the weekend locked in a dark room. A thin beam of light would creep in when the sun rose and creep back out when it fell. It took longer than expected for the tears to dry up. The moment that they did was perhaps the hardest of all. The moment when even my eyes where to sick of my pain to indulge it any longer. The moment when only my splutters broke the silence. The moment when I knew that I no longer even had the privilege of tears. Tears that have meaning. Tears that tell a story. Tears that make something important. Such a privilege.

‘I don’t care if it hurts,
I want to have control,

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I want a perfect body,
I want a perfect soul,

But they run out. As they all run out. As everything runs out. They loose the power and the juice of something that can continue and survive. And they leave you spinning in the wind. As I turned these thoughts over and over in my head in the darkness I began to change, I span them around and stared at them for so long that I became more and more aware my distance from them. They were simply a thing, a thought that I could hold in front of me and ponder, it didn’t control me. I control’d it, I was keeping it with me. Then a scary realization: I wanted to keep it with me. I wanted to feel this way, it was part of me and I was scared of being with out it and moving on from it. I was in a sad and desperate moment in a sad and desperate story. But it was a story where I knew my place. It still is.

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‘I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.’

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So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world besides the will of evil’

I want you to notice,

When I’m not around,
You’re so fucking special,
I wish I was special.’

4 Aug

Living in Sunlight. Dying in Neon

I dreamt last night. Here is something they don’t tell you about growing up: you dream less. You dream less and you dream less intensely. Nights that used to be full of vibrant colors are now filled only with darkness. Nights that used to tell you stories of presence now only tell you stories of absence. The ‘great within’ becomes the great without. Without all the warring ideas of youth. Without the sunlight that beams from within. It just doesn’t come any more. You can’t rely on sunlight. You have to make the light. You have to rely on Neon.

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But I dreamt, I dreamt in Neon. I made myself dream. Do you ever feel like your insides are pulling you into a pit? And then do you ever feel like that doesn’t really matter? Because your stupid fears and pains are just, so, inconsequential. Whats the point? Maybe our complete powerlessness in front of the modern world turns our want to problem find and problem solve inward. We turn on ourselves and try desperately to solve the problem we presume we are. Maybe we are not our biggest problems, maybe if we stopped staring at ourselves so hard and just forgot for a second we’d be fine. Maybe.

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Don’t doubt the value of acting without thinking.

You can turn it on. You can make your own neon life. You can burn through the darkness. With a little help. Be your own poison. Be your own gas. Be your own shining star. Be your own Neon. Be your own chance at a second self. But I don’t care. Mum’s gone. Dad’s never coming back. Trev’s left. The kids with him. I’m here, staring out on the cabbage and broccoli. When we started we had this custom neon clock. It says in big bright letters ‘Dreaming in Health!’. Dreaming in Health. We were dreaming in pain and dreaming in Neon. And we still are.

24 Jun

Life at Good Life: What a weekend!

Wow! What a weekend! I can tell you, I am fully exhausted!

Uh oh! She is sleeping right? Right? Uh oh… flashback alert!

What a weekend! I don’t think I was off my feet once over the whole four days! Making the food, serving the food, at an event like this I obviously shouldn’t really be eating up at the table, Trev knows what can happen when I get to much time to talk haha! But he seemed to be having a great time, he was clearly so happy to see his mum and dad, he has such a cute relationship with them! They are just so intimate, it actually makes me a little jelous! When Trev was a child his family could only afford one bed apparently (so strange in such a massive house!) So his parents and he would all sleep in the same bed, and now when they visit, they do the same thing! Its such a cute little tradition.

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‘A family is a whole, there is no division, they are inside one another, always.’

You know, I’ve never seen Trev happier, he just doesn’t get angry when his Mum and Dad are around. Just the other day I was watching them all as they ate at the proper table, I came over to clear the plates away, and when I got to the table I realised there was still food on the plates, I had come to early! what an idiot! Trev was rightfully pretty unhappy with me, he took the plates and put them on the floor, and we played this fun game where I had to try to eat what was left on them with out using my hands, like a dog! It was so silly, and it certainly taught me my lesson. He is such fun!

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Dads!

Unfortunately my Mum just sat there, just sat there watching, still saying nothing. I really wish she would just get involved. Trev’s Dad is very different to mine, our Dad was never really so in to games, he knows the value of discipline for sure! But I was still hoping that she might perk up a little around him and remember what its like to have a man around for once. But if anything she just seemed to stiffen up even more when he would put his hand on her soldier to comfort her. He tried to give her a little hug and a kiss when he first met her, and she gave very little back. Bit rude I thought. But Trev’s Dad is such a sweet heart.

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‘The Father leads, the Woman needs, The Father speaks, for the Woman who’s weak” Old family saying.

 I did spot mum writing in a little black book over the weekend, and writing rather frantically. And wouldnt you know, she left it here by accident! I have no idea what’s in it, do you think I should read it? She’s headed back to Siberia now, but by family rules she’ll have to come back in August for Daddy’s hearing, so I can give it to her then. Maybe I will read it. I’m sure it’s just scribbling anyway. Won’t tell Dad if it is though, he always told her that her drawings were immoral, not her role he said! She loved doing it though, but I suppose he was right: what use were her drawings to him? She could be so selfish.

Still no word from Dad, and Trev hasn’t really spoken to me since the weekend. Get’s a little lonely sometimes. Well, there’s plenty of work to be done.

I think I will have a look in the book. The nursing home got in touch to say that she was speaking for the first time in years, screaming actually, for the book. Kept saying ‘He’ll see!  He’ll see!  Very strange! Well, it should be interesting!

Exciting! See you next time.

16 Jun

Family Reunion Time!

So not quite good life related this week, at least not related to the ‘good life’ shop, but certainty related to a very important part of the ‘good life’ life- family!

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Family!

Family is so important, I absolutely love my family more than I love any thing else, especially my self! My upbringing taught me to be humble and always put family first. When I meet some young people today I’m often so shocked at how selfish and self indulgent they can be- always me me me! They don’t seem to have any concept of the fact that they don’t matter! It is the father that matters. And also the mother. But the father works to keep the children safe and healthy and alive. That is his gift to them! Life! He gives the greatest gift possible, so why shouldn’t he take what he wants in return? We, the children, are his, the father. Well that is how I was bought up anyway, and it has never done me any wrong, Trev and I are still happily married and he is a real man. A man I can be proud off! Whilst the kids may have moved away and we don’t see them perhaps as often as we’d like to, at least they sent that Christmas email last year! Family is important!

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Father knows best!

So, the reason I am talking about all this family stuff is that we’re lucky enough to be having a little family reunion here at good life! Trev’s Mum and Dad are coming over from their retirement home in Australia and Mum is flying in from her retirement home in Siberia. Dad couldn’t get day leave, and his hearing isn’t until August, so unfortunately we won’t be seeing him, such a shame! Anyway, we were trying to plan their journeys for them to get them here in the quickest and easiest fashion and we’ve been struggling a bit, so we thought we’d chuck a post up here to see if anyone could give us some tips! 

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Perfect!

The key decision really is where to get them to fly in to. As always with Wooler this comes down to Edinburgh or Durham. The difference in drive time between the two is so insignificant that it really doesn’t come in to it. So we wondered if anyone out there has had experiences at both? We’ve heard some bad things about the parking situation at Edinburgh (we plan to pick them up) where they charge for even the briefest stop off. Last time we went there we used a handy little Edinburgh Airport parking comparison tool to get us the best deal, and the same clever little thing is available to compare airport parking at Durham now as well apparently, so both should be parkable! We just don’t want to end up paying a fortune just to park for half an hour, or end up getting stuck in some awfully organised parking system.

car parkNailed it! 

Beyond that, anyone have any specific suggestions regarding the two airports? Both are options, just wondering if anyone has used both in the past. Personally I can’t wait to have some family around again, Mum doesn’t say much these days, it has always been awkward since she testified like she did, where she got all that stuff from I don’t know! I think she went a bit senile during that period the old dear and now she has just gone completely silent. Well hopefully all be behind us soon enough, Dad will be back and I’m sure he’ll set us all straight! Yay!

14 Jun

Life at Good Life- Update.

Here at Good life Wooler it is always all go all of the time and this week we have been trying to improve our baking skills. We haven’t baked for quite a while here at Good Life but have constant inspiration from the produce that we sell. From the wonderful chocolates, berries and fruits which inspire new toppings and fillings, to the locally made cakes we sell that inspire new recipes and ideas. So we decided that we would throw caution to the wind and try and get back into the world of baking beautiful cakes and tantalising treats, and it’s about time! We have been putting this off for far two long, it is just criminal. I remember when I was young waiting around the oven smelling the beautiful smells of a rising cake as my mum or grandma would shoo me away with a kitchen towel, or a flick of flour from the counter top. Brownies, cakes, cupcakes, chocolate cakes, lemon cakes, victoria sponge, lemon drizzle, such beautiful creations, and I just wanted to know how they were created! I was a keen baker in my 20’s but have since let it slide, I was in a position where I didn’t know if I had the expertise or the equipment to get back on the baking horse. So I had to set about getting ready again, starting with…

The equipment!

baking equiptment

Getting baking again is not something to be taken on lightly, you are going to need to make sure that you are stocked up with all the little bits and pieces you are going to need to get baking. For instance: Mixing bowls. How many mixing bowls do you have? Just the one? You are going to need multiple sizes I’m afraid, if you really want to get serious. How about Measuring cups? A full set of measuring cups is absolutely essential if you are too follow your recipes perfectly, you don’t want to put all those hours of work in only to find that a little too much or too little of this or that has foiled your plan for a beautiful rise on your cake. That would be a nightmare. Also, modern electric scales are a must…

old scales

Perfect…

Once again you don’t want to be a little out on your bake project and have it all fall apart. Your also going to need rolling pins, measuring spoons, cooking racks, rubber spatula’s (or ‘last licks’ as my Mum always called them), a pastry board, pastry brushes, a pastry blender, a pastry wheel, pastry bags (a lot of pastry stuff eh?), a flour sifter and hopefully some glass bowls as well. I know!

But perhaps most importantly..

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For real!

The oven is, obviously, a pretty important part of baking. It is kinda where the whole thing takes place. So yeah, it matters! Our oven was not looking good, we hadn’t paid much attention to it for a while and where thinking of getting a new one. It is not however a bad piece of kit and we felt a bit dumb just throwing it away and spending all that money on a new one when perhaps ours just needed some tender love and care. So, on the recommendation of one of our customers we had it professionally cleaned! I don’t know how this sounds to you but to us it sounded pretty weird at first, the idea of paying someone to come and give our oven a clean (to be honest, it just sounded lazy!) but apparently its not all that uncommon. We contacted a group called ovenu who sent someone round and a few hours later it was like we had a whole new oven. The importance of the oven can not be understated, you need to have complete and accurate control over the temperature into which your creations are being thrust. An old and dirty oven becomes more and more unpredictable, get your oven cleaned by Ovenu before you get baking! It is so worth it.

So…. get baking!

Yeah! The time is now! Get ready for summer afternoon tea with homemade cakes. Its all around the corner!

11 Jun

Why buy local?

There are so many reason to buy local. The benefits of people buying produce from within their local area are many, it is shown to have huge benefits to the local community and not just for the producers, farmers and shop owners who profit directly from the money you are putting back into your local area. Obviously everybody is not going to start buying everything they consume from within their local area, though this is actually not impossible, but its always good to try, to try and buy local. To try and support the little man. To try and support the community. And to try and support yourself as part of all these things. But how does buying local do all these things? Well, let’s have a little look shall we?

Local economic prosperity.

  economicPros

A host of economic research has come to the conclusion that in the increasingly globalised and homogenised world, with superstores always with in reach and flat pack high streets turning every part of the country into the same basic picture just with a slightly different frame, skilled workers, entrepreneurs, tourists, families, retirees and basically everybody else are far more realistically going to settle down, work and invest in a community that actually feels unique, and seems to support those with in it, those who care about it. Buying local fuels the local economy and the local world. So do it!

Environmental responsibility.

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Eating bananas that have travelled further than you probably ever have is not ok. Using beans that have come from a country you might not have even heard off should not be part of your reality. None of this is ok. None of this makes sense. We can’t keep organising our food supply chain in this way because it is killing our planet. It should be that you consume what is available around you, what is in season and being farmed. We as a country are going to lose the ability to do this if we keep importing all our natural produce and pushing local farmers out of business, soon enough we will not be able to revert to a more sustainable, responsible system. It will have been completely wiped out. Buy local now, to save the world.

Isn’t it just nicer?

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Local business tend to have a better understanding of the produce they sell as they have a much more genuine connection with how it is produced and where it comes from. They are part of this process and the people who work in these businesses have to learn about what they stock, and they can pass that information on to you, the consumer. The people who work in local small scale business are more connected to what they are doing and more enriched by the experience. This makes the whole experience better for you, the consumer. Wouldn’t that be better? Be better for you, for them, for everybody?

So get down here…

So get down here! We’re doing great and we can’t wait to see you, the consumer.